Covid-19 outbreak 2020

Covid-19 outbreak 2020
Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil: Oxygen shortage in Manaus, largest Amazon city, forces mass patient transfer
Brazil: Oxygen shortage in Manaus, largest Amazon city, forces mass patient transfer

Dozens of Covid-19 patients in Manaus, the Amazon rainforest's biggest city, will be flown out of state as the local health system collapses, authorities announced Thursday as dwindling stocks of oxygen tanks meant some people were starting to die breathless at home.

"Due to the strong impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the consumption of oxygen in the city increased exponentially over the last few days in comparison with a volume that was already extremely high," White Martins said in an emailed statement to Associate Press.

Brazilian influencers are running a crowdfunding campaign to delivery oxygen tanks to the city.

Health
India says Brazil rushed to send plane for vaccine
India says Brazil rushed to send plane for vaccine
Credit: Tony Winston/MS (Public Domain)

A spokesman for the Indian Foreign Ministry told the Hindustan Times that it was "too early" to send the batches of the vaccine, produced by the Serum Institute in partnership with Oxford University and pharmacist AstraZeneca.

On 5 January, Brazil's Foreign Ministry confirmed the purchase of Oxford vaccine doses produced in India, despite the Indian government's announcement that the vaccine's export was banned. The statement also mentioned plans to distribute the vaccines to Brazilian states within a few days of authorization from the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) and highlighted the successful acquisition of the doses with an example of the "excellent relations" between the two countries.

Health
Pope Francis and his predecessor Pope Benedict received first shot of Covid-19 vaccine
Pope Francis and his predecessor Pope Benedict received first shot of Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: Vatican News

The Vatican confirmed on Thursday that Pope Francis, aged 84, and retired Pope Benedict, aged 93, have had their first doses of a coronavirus vaccine. The pontiff and his predecessor got the first half of their vaccinations as part of a campaign for Vatican City residents and employees launched on January 13th.

"You are gambling with your health, with your life, but you are also gambling with the lives of others," Francis said in a recent interview with Italian broadcaster Canale 5. He said "anti-vaxxers" were living in inexplicable "suicidal denial."

In December, the head of the Vatican's health service said the tiny city-state would roll out its vaccination program with the Pfizer medication.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
UK bans travellers from South America
UK bans travellers from South America
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The UK has banned people who are from or have travelled through Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela in the last 10 days. The ban will come into force from Friday and is due to a new variant identified in Brazil. British, Irish and foreign nations may enter the country but must isolate for 10 days.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Berlin to implement a 15-kilometre travel restriction for residents
Berlin to implement a 15-kilometre travel restriction for residents
Credit: onnola (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In a special session on Tuesday, Berlin's government, the state Senate, set to join other parts of the country in implementing a 15-kilometre "Corona-Ring" beyond city limits, with residents restricted to travel within it.

The Senate also decided that the rule would stay in place until the incidence rate keeps below 200 for seven consecutive days.

"The goal of everything we're doing is to reduce travel and contact," Finance Senator Matthias Kollatz told reporters after the session. "The 15-kilometre rule, when the rate hits 200, aims to achieve a further reduction."

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil registers 1,283 new Covid-19 deaths, 61,966 new infections
Brazil registers 1,283 new Covid-19 deaths, 61,966 new infections
Credit: Rio da Paz

The consortium of Brazilian media companies, compiling data from state health authorities, announced Wednesday the country had 1,283 new deaths and 61,966 positive diagnoses for the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of infected to 8,257,459 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
UK coronavirus deaths pass 100,000
UK coronavirus deaths pass 100,000
Credit: unsplash.com / iMattSmart

1,564 deaths were recorded across the United Kingdom on Wednesday 13th January - a record high bringing the total to 101,160.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Third member of US Congress tests positive for Covid-19 after Capitol lockdown
Brad Schneider
Brad Schneider Credit: Charles Edward Miller (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

A third member of Congress has tested positive for COVID-19 after the Capitol lockdown according to journalist Kyle Griffin. He quotes Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider: "I am now in strict isolation, worried that I have risked my wife's health and angry at the selfishness and arrogance of the anti-maskers."

Science • Animals
Gorillas at Californian Zoo have tested positive for Covid-19
Gorillas at Californian Zoo have tested positive for Covid-19
Credit: Ken Bohn / San Diego Zoo Global

Gorillas can contract Covid-19. The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) today announced confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) in three gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in California. These are the first gorillas in the United States to be confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany: Bavaria introduces mandatory FFP2 masks in public transport and supermarkets
FFP2 Mask
FFP2 Mask Credit: Christoph Janke for Pendect (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

In Bavaria, from next Monday onwards, there will be an obligation to wear FFP2 masks in public transport and in retail. This was decided by the cabinet on Tuesday in Munich, as Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) said.

Söder said the "normal community masks" are in the Corona pandemic to protect others. FFP2 masks also protect the wearer himself. The goal, he said, is to improve safety in public transportation and commerce.

"Availability in trade is sufficiently guaranteed, so there is no shortage of FFP2," the prime minister stressed.

Health
AstraZeneca applies for approval of Covid-19 in European Union
AstraZeneca applies for approval of Covid-19 in European Union
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has announced that AstraZeneca has applied for approval of their Covid-19 which has been developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

According to the EMA "the assessment of the vaccine, known as COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, will proceed under an accelerated timeline" and added that "an opinion on the marketing authorisation could be issued by 29 January during the meeting of EMA’s scientific committee for human medicines (CHMP), provided that the data submitted on the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine are sufficiently robust and complete and that any additional information required to complete the assessment is promptly submitted."

Health
World Health Organization says Covid-19 herd immunity will not happen in 2021
World Health Organization says Covid-19 herd immunity will not happen in 2021
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Soumya Swaminathan, World Health Organization (WHO) chief scientist, said Monday that despite the growing availability of vaccines herd immunity to the Covid-19 would not be achieved in 2021. . Until then, preventive measures such as masks will be necessary.

Swaminathan commended the "incredible progress" made by researchers to develop several safe and effective vaccines at unprecedented speed.

"We won't get back to normal quickly," Dale Fisher, chairman of the WHO's Outbreak Alert and Response Network, told a conference hosted by the Reuters news agency.

Science • Medicine
Argentina starts distribution of hyperimmune equine serum to treat COVID-19
Argentina starts distribution of hyperimmune equine serum to treat COVID-19

The serum is obtained by injecting horses with SARS-CoV-2 protein, which causes the animal to generate a large amount of neutralizing antibodies. On trials it reduced mortality by 45%, internment by 24% and respiratory assistance by 36%.

Regional News • Middle East
20 per cent of all Israelis have been vaccinated against Covid-19
20 per cent of all Israelis have been vaccinated against Covid-19
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

The Israeli Health Minister Juli Edelstein announced that around 1.8 million Israelis had received the first vaccination dose. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had also received his second vaccination against the coronavirus on Saturday evening. Israel is currently in its third Corona lockdown, as infection numbers had risen significantly again by the end of the year.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
UK Covid-19 variant detected for the first time in Berlin

According to a study by In Berlin, the new variant of the coronavirus from Great Britain has been detected for the first time. This was announced by the Senate Health Administration on Friday. The affected person and other ill contact persons his recovered in the meantime. Possible further contact persons are still being searched for. from German A few days ago, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) said that the new virus variant was not very widespread in Germany so far. At least according to current knowledge, it looks like the measures taken have prevented the new form from spreading, Spahn said in Berlin on Wednesday.

Health
Study: BioNTech vaccine effective against mutation
Study: BioNTech vaccine effective against mutation
Credit: Ashles Winkler for Pendect

The corona vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer also protects against a mutation of the virus that has emerged in the UK and South Africa, according to a new study. The variants of the virus first discovered in the UK and South Africa feature a mutation that did not block the vaccine in the study. The study was published on the Internet for researchers and has not yet been reviewed by experts.

The mutation, called N501Y, is a slight change in a site of the spike protein on the surface of the virus. This change is thought to be the reason why the two variants can spread so quickly. Most vaccines being rolled out around the world teach the bodies of those vaccinated to recognize and fight the spike protein.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
EU Commission orders up to 300 million more vaccine doses from BioNtech
EU Commission orders up to 300 million more vaccine doses from BioNtech
Credit: Ashles Winkler for Pendect

The EU Commission has concluded a contract for up to 300 million more doses of the Corona vaccine from the Mainz-based company BioNtech and its US partner Pfizer. 75 million doses of this should be available as early as the second quarter of 2021, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in Brussels on Friday.

Back in November, the EU Commission ordered up to 300 million doses of vaccine from BioNtech/Pfizer for all 27 states - a firm order for 200 million doses and an option for 100 million more, which was recently pulled.

In Germany, BioNtech is currently working on a new production site in Marburg. If this goes into operation in February as planned, the company will be able to massively expand vaccine production.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Ryanair to operate "few, if any" flights to or from the UK & Ireland
Ryanair to operate "few, if any" flights to or from the UK & Ireland
Credit: unsplash.com/Sangga Rima Roman Selia

Due to new lockdowns in Ireland, the United Kingdom and some other EU countries, the Irish low-cost airline Ryanair is drastically cutting its flight offerings starting January 21, the company announced Thursday.

From January 21, Ryanair plans to operate "few, if any" flights to and from British and Irish airports. This will apply until the severe travel restrictions are lifted.

Regional News • Asia • Japan
Tokyo: State of emergency declared issued amid Coronavirus surge

Japan has issued a month-long state of emergency for Tokyo and three surrounding areas - Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba. Schools, gyms, cinemas and theatres will be allowed to remain open under certain restrictions. Restaurants will have to shorten their opening hours or be "named and shamed" by the government. The state of emergency will end of February 7th.

Regional News • Europe
European Medicines Agency recommends authorization of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine
European Medicines Agency recommends authorization of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

On Wednesday, the European Parliament Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety announced on Twitter that they are "expected to follow the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommendation and grant the authorization shortly after which the roll-out of the vaccine in the EU can begin."

Emer Cooke, EMA executive director, said on Wednesday that "this vaccine provides us with another tool to overcome the current emergency." and "It is a testament to the efforts and commitment of all involved that we have this second positive vaccine recommendation just short of a year since the pandemic was declared by WHO," she said.

Regional News • World
WHO team blocked from entering China to study origins of Covid-19
WHO team blocked from entering China to study origins of Covid-19
Credit: Yann Forget (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

A World Health Organization (WHO) team was denied entry to China to study the origions of Covid-19 in Wuhan, citing a lack of visa clearances.

"I have been assured that China is speeding up the internal procedure for the earliest possible deployment," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Tuesday, adding that he was "very disappointed" that China had not yet finalized the permissions for the team's arrivals "given that two members had already begun their journeys and others were not able to travel at the last minute".

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany extends Covid-19 lockdown until January 31
Germany extends Covid-19 lockdown until January 31
Credit: Bundesregierung (Public Domain)

Germany's federal and state governments have agreed to extend the existing Covid-19 measures until January 31. Also, further measures will be taken, in particular, contact restrictions are to be greatly strengthened, and private contacts are to be reduced to one person outside the household.

Additionally, travel without a valid reason will be restricted to no more than 15 kilometres in hotspot-areas and day trips will be prohibited.

Regional News • Asia • Japan
Japan considers 1-month long state of emergency for Tokyo area

Japan is considering declaring a state of emergency as numbers of Coronavirus cases rise. It would apply to Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures of Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa. In his new year's speech, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga already hinted at measures to keep the virus from spreading. Japan reported 4520 new cases on December 31st and 3158 on January 3rd.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
UK to roll out Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine starting Monday

The UK is set to start administering the new Covid-19 vaccine from Oxford University and the AstraZeneca group on Monday, stating that the "NHS will be the first health service in the world to provide this life-saving vaccine."

The vaccine will initially be delivered in a small number of hospitals, but will be widely distributed to hundreds of vaccination centers later this week.

Regional News • Americas • United States
US Covid-19 death toll surpasses 350,000
US Covid-19 death toll surpasses 350,000
Credit: The White House from Washington, DC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Covid-19 related death toll in the United States has surpassed 350,000 on Sunday as experts warn of a post-holiday surge of infections.

During an interview with NBC, Dr Anthony Fauci said there were "no excuses" that vaccinations have been low, averaging at half a million people a day.

"We’re not where we want to be. We’ve got to do much better, but let’s give it about a week or two into January to see if we can pick up momentum that was slowed down by the holiday season," so Fauci.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump claims Covid-19 number of the "China Virus is far exaggerated", US Surgeon General contradicts claim
Trump claims Covid-19 number of the "China Virus is far exaggerated", US Surgeon General contradicts claim
Credit: @realDonaldTrump via twitter

After President Donald Trump claimed Sunday that the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths of the "China Virus is far exaggerated" because of the CDC's "ridiculous method of determination", US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams responded that there was "no reason to doubt" the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's statistics.

"From a public health perspective, I have no reason to doubt those numbers," Adams said in an interview with CNN. "And I think people need to be very aware that it's not just about the deaths, as we talked about earlier. It's about the hospitalizations, the capacity. These cases are having an impact in an array of ways and people need to understand there's a finish line in sight, but we've got to keep running toward it."

Regional News • Middle East
Saudi Arabia: Temporary travel ban ended and international flights resumed

Saudi Arabia lifted its temporary travel ban on 11 o'clock Sunday after closing borders following the UK's new Coronavirus strain detection. The ministry of interior announced lifting the “precautionary measures related to the spread of a new variant of coronavirus” in a statement.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Larry King hospitalized with Covid-19 – reports
Larry King in 2017
Larry King in 2017 Credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

American television host Larry King has been at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for over a week after being diagnosed with Covid-19, CNN, his employer for many years, reports. There is no news regarding his current state of health. King has Type 2 diabetes and previously underwent treatment for lung cancer.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
BioNTech founders warn of Covid-19 vaccine supply issues in EU
BioNTech founders warn of Covid-19 vaccine supply issues in EU
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

BioNTech is working flat out with partner Pfizer to boost production of their Covid-19 vaccine, its founders said, warning there would be gaps in supply until other vaccines were rolled out. The German biotech start-up has led the vaccine race but its shot has been slow to arrive in the EU due to relatively slow approval from the bloc’s health regulator and the small size of the order placed by Brussels.

The delays have caused consternation in Germany, where some regions had to temporarily close vaccination centres days after the launch of an inoculation drive on December 27th.

Regional News • Middle East
Israel: 1 million people vaccinated against coronavirus
The President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, visits the vaccination center of the Maccabi Healthcare Services in Jerusalem. Wednesday, December 30, 2020. Photo credit: Haim Tzach / GPO.
The President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, visits the vaccination center of the Maccabi Healthcare Services in Jerusalem. Wednesday, December 30, 2020. Photo credit: Haim Tzach / GPO. Credit: Haim Zach / Government Press Office (Israel), Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Over a million people in Israel have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, the highest amount for a country globally. This results in 11.55 in 100 people being vaccinated, compared to 1.47 in 100 people in the UK. Israel started vaccinations on December 19th with a rate of 150,000 vaccinations per day.